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Drunk Driving versus Texting While Driving – Does the penalty match the crime?

Teen Driving

While most states have banned texting by drivers in the last seven years, the problem of distracted driving just seems to be getting worse.  According to preliminary estimates, road fatalities, which had fallen for years, are now rising sharply, up roughly 8 percent.  To combat the issue, legislators and public health experts want to treat distracted driving like drunk driving.

Lawmakers in New York are proposing to give police officers a new device that is the digital equivalent of the Breathalyzer – a roadside test called the Textalyzer.  It would work like this:  An officer arriving at the scene of a crash could ask for the phones of any drivers involved and use the Textalyzer to tap into the operating system to check for recent activity.

Officers would use the technology to determine whether a driver had used his or her phone to text, email or do anything else that is forbidden under New York’s hands-free driving laws, which also prohibit drivers from holding phones to their ear.  Failure to hand over a phone could lead to the suspension of a driver’s license, similar to the consequences for refusing a Breathalyzer.

The facts and figures make it clear that texting is as likely to cause an accident as drinking when it comes to operating a vehicle.  Drive Safe!

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